When something goes wrong, most of us respond by looking for something or someone to blame. We default into asking, “What’s wrong?” and then we commonly answer that question with either “You!” or “Me!”

Judgments, criticisms, analyses, diagnoses, and power struggles usually follow, and we all know how those conversations…

I spent my middle-school years in a tiny town in the northern part of South Africa in the early 1980s, and my very favorite memories from that time in my life involved going to the game parks.

Game watching was serious business. We’d get up early in the morning with…

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this past Tuesday was the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. Since then, our days have started getting longer and lighter again.

I’ve been noticing the late sunrises, the early dusks, and the way in which my body downshifts in…

One of my happiest teaching memories is teaching theater and improv to 8th graders in Egypt in the late 1990s. I’ve never laughed so much while teaching in my life.

One game we’d often play was built on the principle of “Yes, and…” If you aren’t familiar with this improv…

“The greatest need of a human being is to be understood, validated and appreciated” — Steven Covey

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, and while this isn’t a holiday that I grew up with, I do love any opportunity to luxuriate in the goodness of life.

During Thanksgiving…

Most of us were raised in what I like to call domination cultures.

Domination cultures run on power and control, shame and blame, fear and righteousness. In these cultures, we’re conditioned to see the world through one primary (often unconscious) question: What is wrong?

When a friend cries, we ask…

I once learned that airline pilots spend about 90% of flight time off-course.

Crazy, right? But — it makes sense when you think about it:

Using feedback from their on-board guidance system and from air traffic control, they constantly course correct for turbulence, winds, and weather conditions.

I find this…

It’s relatively easy to have conversations that go badly.

Make a snarky comment.
Say something insensitive.
Lead with judgment. Follow up with criticism.
Interrupt. Defend. Argue.
Descend into shame. Isolate with self-righteousness.

We all know the drill.

High-quality conversations, on the other hand, emerge from a combination of personal skillfulness…

Yvette Erasmus PsyD

Writer, speaker, psychologist, and consultant offering practical tools and insights for conscious, compassionate, courageous living. Based in Minneapolis, MN.

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